All for the arts
- ADVERTISER, Thursday, September 13, 2018 What’s your job? Director of finance at Wodonga TAFE and president of the Yackandandah Folk Festival where the committee members are volunteers.
What brought you to the Yackandandah Folk Festival role?
Commenting about a lack of food on the festival’s Friday night session 14 years ago, I was asked to help organise the catering. I worked at the Border Mail at the time and ended up looking after media and advertising too, followed by the artistic director role that led me to becoming the festival’s president. What do you love about your job? Everything. Working in an event which is so beneficial to the whole community financially and culturally is such a stimulating experience. The volunteer committee is an amazing group and fun to be around despite the countless hours involved. To think that a small group can bring over 2500 people to our little village for three days and in that time feed, accommodate and entertain them all. The community joins in and from a base of 900 people we have more than 300 of them volunteer to work with the festival, the school community dinner, organise parking, assist with camping, billet our performers, and run their fundraising stalls at the Sunday market. Every com- munity group is involved in some way. Our visitors always comment on how welcome they are made to feel with many returning later for a holiday. Dealing with the performers is enjoyable too. Each year we have 45 groups which can be up to 200 people join us to entertain all of our tickets holders. The reputation of our festival has spread and we attract performers from every Australian state and all over the world. Each year we receive around 400 applications from performers and the most difficult task is reducing the list down to the 45 successful acts. Reviewing the performers each year highlights the huge talent that we have in this country. What do you do in the community? Work with the folk festival and support local cafes by drinking lots of coffee.
What’s the most important current community issue for you?
Yackandandah has worked very hard over the years to develop excellent services and facilities and is blessed with a vibrant creative and arts community. Recent development has seen an influx of new families and an increase in the number of young people. Sustainable growth and environmental issues are the current key matters.
What would you do to solve, change or improve that situation?
Keep doing what we are doing. The festival green team continues to reduce waste and the festival is now more than 200 per cent renewable in power generation. The festival is also working closely with Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) with the objective of having the village 100 per cent renewable by 2020.
What’s the most important current world issue for you?
Lack of leadership. Worldwide we have corrup-
If the person you’d most like to meet came to Indigo, or was already here, who would that be and what would you show them?
Confucius. We would sit in the main street of Yackandandah. Why would you do that? To take in the history, serenity, sensational community, the beauty of the surrounds and to absorb heaven on a stick. There has to be a proverb in there somewhere. What book are you reading? No time to read. Listening my way through 400 performer applications for the 2019 festival.
COMMUNITY PASSION: Yackandandah’s Chris Smith loves working with volunteers for the village’s annual Folk Festival which has financial and cultural benefits for the community. tion, greed, wars and lies, and that is just the politicians. What example is being set for our young people?
CHRIS Smith was born in Melbourne and moved to Yackandandah 24 years ago to escape the city rat race.